Selling your house is like continually getting punched in the neck. We’ve got ours on the market right now and I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s some sort of down economy thing going on. I know, weird right?
I had hoped that listing it as “the homestead where Stuff Christians Like was written,” would really drive some foot traffic like Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables, but alas, no luck. (If you want to see the house and freak out my real estate agent at the sudden influx of web traffic, here it is.)
Given the “season of life we’re in right now,” it’s possible that this financial street fight has me thinking about money lately. And when you read the phrase “prosperity gospel” in the title of this post, you probably thought about money too.
But this post isn’t about money. Or pastors in Rolls Royces. Or patron on ice. This post is about something much worse. Something much sneakier. Something much deadlier.
I call it “Bling Backlash.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Boy Scout who instead of doing something he hated like building a park bench to earn his Eagle Scout Badge, he built signs for a Frisbee golf course. I related this to serving the Lord with your gifts. I talked about how when you’re in the zone and doing what you were designed for, it’s not as difficult as trying to be somebody you’re not. I talked about the joy and peace of being smack dab in the middle of God’s will.
Some of the comments on the post caught me off guard:
“It (the post) also doesn’t acknowledge the idea that everything we’re enjoying now could be ripped from us in a second, and that God often allows horrific and terrible things to happen to His servants in a very Job-like sense.”
“I think of Paul and Silas, chained up after being beaten, but still praising God. Were they in the zone?”
I think people raised some valid points, but my concern is simply this:
What does it say about us when we’re faced with a post about God’s goodness and our first reaction is to find examples where life with him is miserable?
What does it say about us when our knee-jerk reaction is to quote Job’s life or the chains of Paul’s?
What does it say about us when we can’t quote the horror of faith fast enough?
To me it says we’ve got Bling Backlash. A part of Christianity has become disenfranchised with prosperity gospel. We’ve become frustrated with the idea that a life with God equates a life of money and stuff. (Not that everyone who believes prosperity gospel preaches that, but that’s how it gets mutated sometimes. And I’m not going into detail on prosperity gospel. Folks like Matt Chandler are far smarter at discussing it than I am.)
In response to people who tell you to name and claim a sports car, we run the complete opposite way. We Bling Backlash from one end of the spectrum all the way into the martyr end of the spectrum.
I don’t think we can comprehend grace.
I think the radical, unkempt, uncontrollable nature of grace knocks us over.
It can’t be possible that we get something we can’t earn.
It can’t be possible that despite our circumstances in life, we would at the core, know overwhelming peace.
It has to be too good to be true.
And it is. Grace is too good to be true, but it is true. That’s the very nature of it. That’s not to say life will be easy. Life can be hard and difficult. We are not given an instant solution for our lives we are given an indescribable savior for our lives. I wrote about that exact thing last week. But when it comes to Bling Backlash and our desire to focus on the pain of faith above all else, I think we miss the beauty of grace. I want to see grace like Shaun King, who when nearly destroyed in a car accident begged the nurses in the emergency room, nearly unconscious, to put a note on his chest that read, “I still believe in the goodness of the Lord.”
Next time I write about building Frisbee signs instead of park benches, when I write about the goodness of God, when I pen a blog post about the peace of God or the joy of God, this is what the reaction should be:
“Your post wasn’t big enough!”
“Your words were too small!”
“God’s love is louder than that!”
“God’s love is more 3D than that!”
“You did a poor job capturing its magnitude! You’re insane for thinking WordPress could contain the God of the universe! No blog post could ever hope to hold his greatness of God!”